Defendant collapses in court; drug testing ordered - Albuquerque Journal

Defendant collapses in court; drug testing ordered

A Gallup man convicted of DWI homicide was taken to a hospital after collapsing in court minutes before he was to be sentenced, prompting a judge to delay the proceeding but also to order that the man be tested for drugs and alcohol.

Matthew Vargas, 24 faces up to 15 years in prison when he is eventually sentenced on his April conviction for homicide by vehicle involving DWI in a 2017 head-on wreck that killed Ernest Baker, 59, the Gallup Independent reported.

After Vargas collapsed Friday and complained of pain while being taken to an ambulance, state District Judge Robert Aragon postponed the sentencing but said it will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

The judge also granted a prosecutor’s request for drug and alcohol testing to find out if they were involved in Vargas’ collapse. That’s appropriate given the nature of Vargas’ offense, said prosecutor Brett Barnes, a state assistant attorney general.

Defense attorney Val Whitley said Vargas might be on “too many medications” due to his medical condition and would likely to test positive for prescribed pain killers.

“Everything is documented that he’s taking,” Whitley said.

Vargas’ sentencing previously had been delayed three times.

Home » AP Feeds » Defendant collapses in court; drug testing ordered


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Shooting by Chaves County sheriff's deputies raises questions
ABQnews Seeker
Lapel camera footage shows deputies opening ... Lapel camera footage shows deputies opening fire on man
2
Two first-generation Americans face off in CD2 Democratic primary
2022 election
Vasquez, Patel vie for chance to ... Vasquez, Patel vie for chance to run against Yvette Herrell, the state's only Republican member of Congress
3
County closes Carlito Springs, bans open fires
ABQnews Seeker
Ban will remain in place until ... Ban will remain in place until further notice
4
Hidden fuels still a threat in northern blazes
ABQnews Seeker
Weather shifts to critical fire Weather shifts to critical fire
5
Voters to decide two Dems for District Court posts
2022 election
Winners of Division 10, 16 will ... Winners of Division 10, 16 will likely run unopposed in November
6
Guns found at ABQ, RR high schools
ABQnews Seeker
No injuries were reported as two ... No injuries were reported as two students face charges
7
APD arrests son in father's death, IDs unrelated homicide ...
ABQnews Seeker
Police looking into a possible homicide ... Police looking into a possible homicide Tuesday afternoon at a mobile home park on West Central
8
House race features past, present representatives
2022 election
Ex-legislator takes on Dem incumbent in ... Ex-legislator takes on Dem incumbent in primary
9
Feds: Ohio man plotted visit to Texas to kill ...
ABQnews Seeker
An Iraqi man who came to ... An Iraqi man who came to the United States two years ago and applied for asylum hatched a plot to assassinate former President George ...